Monday, October 15, 2007

The Big Pow Wow

It's been talked about for ages and finally the 17th National Party Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is underway.

Thousands of delegates representing their communities across the country are gathered in Beijing to discuss China's plans for the next five years.

Political pundits and academics are more interested in the side show of who will succeed President Hu Jintao -- in five years.

It's interesting to hear and read the specific words these officials choose to give hints on where China is going.

Hu's current phrase is "the scientific outlook on development", while his predecessor former President Jiang Zemin's is "Three Represents". These mantras are vague enough to be interpreted in any way and apply to any situation imaginable. However I don't know how "the concept of scientific development" will help the poor unless he has some kind of scientific formula to recalculate a new definition of the underprivileged.

What's also interesting is the current use of the words xiao kang, which means "moderately prosperous society".

It's a modification from former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping's "to get rich is glorious" in the early 1980s.

With many people complaining about the widening income gap between the rich and the poor, perhaps xiao kang is a subtle message for the Chinese to aim for moderate or modest wealth rather than lavish displays of money.

Or perhaps it's a subliminal message to those officials to tone down their corruption activities so that less will have to be punished. Having to dismiss or even execute officials for taking bribes makes the CPC look bad.


ks said...

a chinese saying "fear not being poor, only fear when there is inequity" . there is still a big gap of rich and poor in china. this is a source of discontent that leads to local social unrest. i have read news reports of uprisings of poor farmers, unhappy factory workers. these are suppressed . may be 'xiao kang' is the answer.

IheartNY said...

You read the news reports about China's growth, my favorite recent stat is that 393 mm Chinese will enter the middle class in the next 5 years.

So it makes it even more interesting to see how the CPC is planning to manage the growth.